Bob Howsam, Reds GM Credited With Building Big Red Machine, Dies At 89

Bob Howsam / Courtesy Cincinnati Reds
Bob Howsam / Courtesy Cincinnati Reds

(SUN CITY, AZ) -- Bob Howsam, the man who is recognized as the architect of Cincinnati's Big Red Machine, died Tuesday morning of heart failure. He was 79.

"Cincinnati was his second home. He had some of his greatest successes there, and the city was always dear to him," said Howsam's son, Robert Howsam, Jr. "While Pops recognized the importance of the players and ownership in baseball, he always felt pleasing the fans should be the number one goal, whether it be concessions, parking or the experience at the ballpark."

Howsam was the Reds general manager from 1967-78 and again from 1983-84. He was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in August 2004.

Under Howsam's direction, the Reds were baseball's dominant team in the 1970's, a decade during which they won six Western Division titles, four National League pennants and World Series Championships in 1975 and 1976. The team's starting lineup of Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Dave Concepion, Pete Rose, George Foster, Cesar Geronimo and Ken Griffey earned 63 All-Star selections, six Most Valuable Player awards and 26 Gold Gloves.

In 1973, Howsam was named Major League Executive of the Year by The Sporting NEws.

Howsam retired in 1985, but remained with the team for 17 months as a special consultant.

Howsam also was a general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals and a founder of the Denver Broncos.

He would have been 90 on Feb. 28.

Information from Cincinnati Reds and The Associated Press